The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen is expanding a network of facial recognition surveillance cameras to catch drivers inside cars, after the success of an earlier trial to publicly name and shame jaywalkers.
Facial recognition can now ID you inside your car
The upgraded system will be able to identify drivers based not just on their license plates, but on their faces inside their cars.
A total 169 drivers have already been captured and identified through the system, according to the Shenzhen Traffic Police.
The system, which went on trial Monday, will be officially launched on May 1.
The move is the latest in a push by Chinese cities and securities agencies to employ advanced artificial intelligence-based technologies in policing.
China is building a facial recognition database to identify any one of its 1.3 billion citizens in just three seconds. Earlier this month, a fugitive was arrested in southeast China after facial recognition technology helped identify him in a crowd of about 50,000 attending a pop concert.
The country is also exporting such technology, with start-up Yitu Technology selling its body mounted cameras equipped with facial recognition software to the Malaysian police.
Shenzhen – home to major tech companies like Tencent, Huawei Technologies and ZTE – has been a pioneer in adopting the most advanced technologies to deal with road rule violations.
Starting in April last year, the city began displaying photos of jaywalkers on large LED screens at major intersections, using facial recognition technology to identify them from a police database.
As well as the photo, the offender’s family name and part of their government identification number are also shown on the LED screens located above the pavement.
Shenzhen-based AI firm Intellifusion provided 20 ultra-HD cameras with a 7MP resolution, and 20 conventional 2MP cameras to the city’s traffic police.
“Cameras with 7 million pixels of resolution ensure that the image of drivers’ faces behind the [windscreen] are good enough for a facial comparison by our system,” Wang Jun, director of marketing solutions from Intellifusion, told the South China Morning Post.
Most of the offenders who have been caught so far by the upgraded network are pedestrians and delivery people who did not follow traffic signals, as well as vehicles using non-motorized lanes.
Traffic violators who are registered with the Shenzhen traffic police – a mandatory step for all residents – receive a text message, which includes their name, identification card number, and details of the time and location of the offence.
And for those who think they are safe from prying electronic eyes under cover of darkness, no such luck: the new cameras come equipped with night vision.